STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Three scientists, David Thouless, and the team of F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz, won the 2016 Nobel Prize in physics, the organization announced Tuesday.
Half of the prize will go to Thouless, and the other half will be split by the collaborating team of Haldane and Kosterlitz, for "for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter."
Topology is the branch of mathematics concerned with continually changing properties, as it applies to physics. Their research studied unusual states of matter, including superconductors, superfluids and thin magnetic films, with results which overturned common physics conceptions. The area of study has been a busy one in the past decade, and applications of their work could include breakthroughs in electronics and materials science.
The decision by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was announced Tuesday.
Each laureate is of British descent. Thouless was born in Bearsden, a Glasgow suburb, and earned his doctorate in 1958 from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He is a professor emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Kosterlitz, born in Aberdeen, Scotland, earned a doctorate in 1969 from Oxford University, and teaches at Brown University in Providence, R.I.
Haldane was born in London, earned a doctorate from Cambridge in 1951, and teaches at Princeton University.
The Nobel Prize ceremonies will be held in Stockholm in December.